EJPAP IX, 2, 2017 – Call for papers
Pragmatism and Common-Sense
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Volume 9, No 2, 2017
Guest Editors: Gabriele Gava and Roberto Gronda
The 2017/2 issue of the EJPAP will discuss the relationships between pragmatism and common-sense. Its goal is to reflect on the importance of the notion of common-sense for pragmatism, both from a historical and a theoretical point of view, and to inquire whether pragmatism provides a distinctive and original approach to this concept.
Pragmatism understands human action as grounded on general habits of behavior. The dimension of habituality is what allows human beings to cope with environmental conditions in a way that makes it possible for them to feel at home in the world. The notion of common-sense is therefore intrinsically relevant to a philosophical approach emphasizing habitual interactions with the world. Moreover, pragmatists have often proposed a kind of “conservatism” in epistemology – that is, they argue that common-sense beliefs need not be justified until there are authentic or “living” reasons to doubt them. In other words, pragmatists disallow merely possible skeptical scenarios as reasons to doubt.
Thus, if the concept of common-sense is central to pragmatisms in this (and other) ways, it is nevertheless questionable whether a pragmatist approach implies a distinctive account of common sense that differs, essentially, from those available in other traditions of thought. To know these, we would need to answer the following kinds of questions: (1) Do pragmatists make use of a unique version of common sense or one that overlaps with other uses? (2) If it overlaps with other uses, how does this work? For example, one might consider the different roles of common sense in different contexts; (a) common-sense can be used to highlight the conceptual or normative primacy of the “ordinary” over the “derived” or refined products of scientific investigation; (b) alternatively, it can be used to defend the opposite thesis, that is, that everyday practices are open to a continuous and never-ending process of revision, through which they incorporate within themselves the results of science. Or, (c) common sense can be deployed either as an epistemological concept (which provides a sort of justification for certain claims to knowledge) or, in a sort of Deweyan spirit, as a tool to defeat the very possibility of epistemological accounts of knowledge. In this latter sense, focusing on the notion of common-sense can reveal those theoretical assumptions which are at the basis of different versions of pragmatism.
We welcome contributions from any area of philosophy, and encourage social scientists and theorists of politics to also participate. Possible topics for discussion are: a) the historiographical assessment of the relation of pragmatism to the Scottish philosophy of common-sense; b) the influence of the theory of evolution on the pragmatist account of common sense; c) the similarities and differences between pragmatism and the “philosophy of the ordinary”; d) the possible relations to authors as different as Wittgenstein, Foucault, Bourdieu, to name only the most important ones; e) the relation between common-sense and science; f) the relation between pragmatist common-sensism and issues in contemporary epistemology such as the epistemology of virtues or the know-that/know-how distinction; g) the role played by a pragmatist-inspired notion of common-sense in social sciences.
Papers should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by May 31st, 2017. They should not exceed 12.000 words and must include an abstract of 150-400 words and a list of works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind review. They will be published in December 2017.
EJPAP IX, 1, 2017 – Call for papers
Pragmatism and Psychologism
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Volume 9, No. 1, 2017
Guest Editors: Rosa Maria Calcaterra and Roberta Dreon
According to the paradigmatic formula offered by Kant, the philosopher’s task consists of demonstrating “how we ought to think” as opposed to “how we do think” – that is, logical rules or norms must be separated from the functioning principles of the human mind or from psychological laws. For Kant, as well as for all those who have accepted his ‘normative’ approach to logic, the “how we do think” falls within the realm of psychology, whose task is indeed ‘to describe’ the actual features and conditions of human thought. Authors such as Frege and Husserl adopted this stance, that they contrasted to the so-called ‘psychologist’ account of knowing and thinking processes. As a matter of fact, the philosophy of the past century contains a dramatic oscillation between a strong condemnation of psychologism across-the-board – targeting phenomenology as well as certain emerging areas within analytic philosophy – and a more recent trend in the philosophy of mind and in the cognitive sciences to naturalize philosophical inquiries in a way that welcomes the translations of existing philosophical vocabularies into psychological ones.
According to the enemies of psychologism, James, Dewey, and Mead – though not Peirce – where responsible for a ‘psychologist fallacy’ consisting in conflating objective causes or necessary rules of logical processes with subjective reasons; as a consequence, pragmatist conceptions sharing Dewey’s understanding of logic as the natural history of thought have been criticized for missing the very point of logic altogether. Yet for the pragmatists the very dualism of logic and psychology was a problematic theoretical constructions that needed to be submitted to critical inquiry. Indeed, the very gist of pragmatist arguments such as the reject of the fact/value dichotomy in the name of the intertwinement of logic with the affective, biological and cultural sphere could be read as attempt at rethinking the relationships between logic and psychology. And pragmatist “cultural naturalism” can be seen as similarly attempting to overcome the psychologism/anti-psychologism divide. Actually, to those who pursue the goal of naturalizing philosophy, “cultural naturalism” sounds like a strange, ambiguous creature, basically as untrustworthy as every form of emergentism. For what kind of psychologism, critics might again ask, eliminates “consciousness” and “mind,” rejects dualistic (and reductionistic) differentiations between the psychical/physical, and instead emphasizes social component of thinking and acting norms?
The 9, 1, 2017 issue of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy will investigate the perspectives opened up – or closed down – by the different pragmatist approaches to this topic, aiming at outlining their specific and potential novel role in the study of the relation between philosophy and psychology as well as of normative and descriptive philosophical stances.
We welcome any contribution that (I) will clarify classical or neopragmatist positions on this subject, (II) compare pragmatist views with other philosophical positions in the field, or (III) propose new approaches and solutions to the problems envisaged by pragmatists.
Papers should be sent to Rosa M. Calcaterra (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to Roberta Dreon (email@example.com) by January 15, 2017. Papers should not exceed 12.000 words (bibliography and footnotes included) and must include an abstract of 200-400 words and a list of works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of double blind review. Acceptance of papers will be notified before April, 15th 2017. Papers will be published in July 2017.
Download the Call for Paper: EJPAP 2017, 9, 1
EJPAP VIII, 2, 2016 – Call for papers
Pragmatism and the Writing of History
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Volume 8, No. 2, 2016
Since its birth, pragmatism has held a more intimate relation to the empirical study of the past than almost any other philosophical school. In part because of their reevaluation and reconstruction of the nature of empirical observation, pragmatists have been particularly sensitive to the epistemic dimension of historical inquiry. Professional historians have also recognized this, and have often drawn upon pragmatism when they had to reflect on their own methodologies. Despite the richness of the interactions between pragmatists and historians, however, it is still necessary for these various scholars to locate common areas of interest. Doing this would also shed light on the central role history has already played in the work of the classical pragmatists.
A good example of the latter point is C. S. Peirce, whose writings on the history of science, although never published in his lifetime, exerted a decisive influence on his philosophy. A bit later, G. H. Mead and J. Dewey explicitly reflected on the scope and methods of historical writing. The specifically historical dimension of human affairs played for them a fundamental role – as evidenced by their insistence on process and temporality, as well as their naturalized conception of action-as-interaction, temporally connecting subjects and environments. Over the decades, their views have prodded subsequent scholars to conceive of practices and institutions as emerging from processes developing over time, in a way that required careful consideration of the tools of narrative and diachronic explanation.
The interest of pragmatist philosophers in history is accompanied by a complementary interest of professional historians in pragmatism, one which begun back in the 1920s (C. Beard, M. Curty, J. H. Randall are some notable examples) and endures today (for instance in the work of T. Kloppenberg, T. Haskell, D. Hollinger). Some contemporary historians have greeted the advent of a new “pragmatist” or “pragmatic” turn in their discipline. By doing so, they join a larger debate that is taking place among social scientists interested in the spatial and temporal situatedness of human action. Also, some historians of art and culture (such as Edgar Wind) have seized upon pragmatist ideas to shape their cultural inquiries.
The 2016/2 issue of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy will explore this broad spectrum of ideas. We invite contributions from historians, philosophers, literary scholars, and social scientists. Submissions may deal with the general relevance of pragmatism to history, by addressing questions such as the nature of historical knowledge, its relation to normativity, and the ontological status of historical concepts. But they may also focus on the relevance of pragmatism to concrete historical practice, exploring, for instance, the role played by pragmatist ideas in the process of historical research, or the potential advantages and drawbacks of a pragmatist approach to history. Finally, we encourage contributions that describe the pragmatist philosophers’ takes on basic notions such as history, temporality or narrative; or submissions which present figures who have been particularly instrumental in the development of a pragmatist perspective on history.
Papers should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by July 31st, 2016. They should not exceed 12.000 words and must include an abstract of 150-400 words and a list of works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind review. They will be published in December 2016.
Download the Call for Paper: EJPAP 2016, 8, 2
EJPAP VIII, 1, 2016 – CALL FOR PAPERS
Dewey’s Democracy and Educationa Century Later:
A Source of and a Resource for European Educational Theory and Practice
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Volume 8, No. 1, 2016
Guest editors: Stefano Oliverio (Post-Doc Researcher, Centro SInAPSi, University of Naples Federico II); Maura Striano (Full Professor of Education, University of Naples Federico II); Leonard J. Waks (Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership, Temple University).
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On the centennial anniversary of the publication of Dewey’s Democracy and Education(New York: Macmillan, 1916), a symposium of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophyintends to explore both the epoch-making significance and the topicality of the (ideas advocated in the) book for the development of European educational reflection.
Dewey’s philosophical-educational masterpiece represented a turning point in the educational discourse, inaugurating a radically new regime for educational theory which has deeply influenced the 20th century’s educational culture. It is in light of this permanent and deep influence that we invite scholars to contribute to this special issue.
In particular, this symposium will investigate two different but complementary thematic areas. The first will cover the reception of the book in Europe, where responses were of very different kinds: (a) responses coming from institutions and ideologies, such as the Catholic Church and Soviet-oriented Communism; and (b) responses from European educational practitioners and radicals. Some representatives of this latter group of innovators of educational practices were often openly in agreement with Dewey’s views, and their ideas contributed to a European appropriation and elaboration of the American philosopher’s tenets; others, however, although not always engaging directly with Dewey’s proposals, were completely contrary to the spirit of Democracy and Education.In this view, we suggest that Democracy and Education may beused as a sort of litmus test to assess in which horizon different (European) educational theories (and experiences) can be situated.
The second thematic area to be investigated is the relevance of Democracy and Educationfor the current European educational debate and for the educational policies that the EU has been championing since the Lisbon Memorandum(2000) aiming at the building of Europe as a space of learning. The latter point shall be explored, in its turn, from a double angle: does Democracy and Educationstill constitute a source for the framing of these policies and for the ongoing educational debate? What categories and notions of Dewey’s pedagogy continue to be timely and relevant for current debates? On the other hand, does the EU project of creating a trans-national space of learning (also by furthering a convergence of the different EU educational systems) really represent the outcome of an ‘educational philosophy’ (in a broad sense) akin to Dewey’s? Or could the latter act rather as a tool for the criticism of those trends in EU policies which seem more to be modelled according to the demands of the market society than to take the baton from the ideas which Democracy and Educationone century ago introduced into educational discourses and practices?
Given the interdisciplinary character of Dewey’s thought and, more generally, of the inquiry in matters of education he wanted to promote, also papers not specifically rooted in educational theory and philosophy (but drawing upon other disciplinary approaches such as sociology, psychology, history of philosophy etc.), or papers dealing with the educational relevance of Dewey’s thought for non European cultures will be considered.
FORMAT AND DEADLINES
• be written in English;
• be limited to 12,000 words;
• include an abstract of 200-400 words;
• include a list of works cited.
Accepted papers will have to be formatted according to the editorial style of the journal.
Full papers should be sent as an email attachment to Stefano Oliverio <<firstname.lastname@example.org>> by November 1, 2015 with “EJPAP Submission” in the subject header. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind review.
Acceptance of papers will be determined before January 15, 2016.
Papers will be published in the June 2016 issue of EJPAP.
Please address any questions to Stefano Oliverio (email@example.com).
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EJPAP VI, 1, 2014 – Call for papers
Peirce in the World
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Volume 6, No. 1, 2014
The next issue of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy (VI, 1, 2014) will be a symposium and a homage to Charles S. Peirce, since 2014 is the Centenary of the death of the great American thinker.
The symposium will collect invited papers on the reception of Peirce’s work in the world, United States excluded for obvious reasons of length.
The country from which we will receive a contributions are: Brasil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and South America, Sweden, United Kingdom. Moreover, there will be an overview of the growth of Peirce Studies in the world by André De Tienne as director of the Peirce Edition Project.
If anyone from an unmentioned country wants to participate, he/she is more than welcome. He/she should contact Giovanni Maddalena (firstname.lastname@example.org).
EJPAP V, 2, 2013 – Call for papers
Symposia: “Pragmatism and the Social Dimensions of Doubt: Fresh Perspectives”
Guest editor: Mathias Girel (Ecole normale supérieure, Paris)
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Volume 5, No. 2, 2013
Debunking pathological doubts and sundry variants of skepticism has certainly been one of the most prominent features of Pragmatism since its inception in the early 1870s. Peirce’s theory of inquiry, James’s Will to Believe, and Dewey’s Quest for Certainty, to mention only a few instances, to which Wittgenstein, as a non-standard pragmatist might be added, have offered several very different strategies to address this question. Extant scholarship has already devoted substantive accounts of this feature of pragmatism. Still, in addition to providing a rebuttal of the “paper-doubts” of the would-be skeptic, pragmatists have also been quite responsive to the social dimensions of doubt. As regards the causes: Peirce, when he claims that we cannot doubt at will, mentions repeatedly that one of the strongest factors of doubt is the doubt of other competent inquirers. As regards the consequences: doubt has consequences on epistemic trust, on the way we discuss truths, either about the sciences or about the “construction of good”. Readers of Dewey’s Quest for Certainty and of some of his most important political writings can easily see how practical uncertainty can degenerate into a practical and political skepticism, preventing the emergence of publics.
This social aspect of the question has received less attention than the general pragmatist strategy towards skepticism, for which we already have important papers and monographs. Fundamental contributions — whether conceptual or historical — on the social dimensions of doubt in a pragmatist perspective would greatly benefit extant scholarship.
Several contexts have made this inquiry more urgent still. Firstly, doubt about the sciences — about scientific certainty, scientific consensus and scientific normativity — has been increasingly enrolled within several strategies and used to promote public controversies: can pragmatism offer, for example, an account of reasonable doubt in the sciences that would dismiss pathological doubts about the sciences, in the same way as the classical pragmatists have dismissed cartesian unreasonable doubts? Secondly, the emergence of a new kind of pragmatism, inspired by Sellars and focusing on the social articulation of the space of reasons, had prompted new developments and sometimes a reconstruction of the main notions of classical epistemology : what are the main insights of linguistic pragmatism about this central notion? Thirdly, the social sciences have made extensive use of pragmatist resources in the past decades and it is time to see if they can in return cast some light on one of the core notions of pragmatism.
This issue of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy wants to investigate the perspectives that pragmatisms, old and new, open up on the social articulation of doubt. We will welcome any contribution on this topic that will (i) clarify classic or neo pragmatists accounts of doubt in its social setting, or (ii) use pragmatist insights in other disciplines — sociology, anthropology, political science, HPS — to explore the social dimensions of doubt, or (iii) compare pragmatist views with authors and perspectives belonging to other philosophical streams, or (iv) propose new theories inspired by pragmatism. Contributions offering new insights on the theory of inquiry, or providing a new reading of classical pragmatism, will be considered of central interest.
Papers should be sent to email@example.com before June, 30, 2013. Papers should not exceed 12.000 words and must include an abstract of 200-400 words and a list of works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind review. Acceptance of papers will be determined before August, 10, 2013. Papers will be published in December 2013.
EJPAP V, 1, 2013 – Call for papers
Symposia: “Pragmatism and creativity”
Edited by Giovanni Maddalena (University of Molise, Italy) and Fernando Zalamea (National University, Colombia)
EJPAP IV, 2, 2012 – Call for papers
Symposia: “Wittgenstein and Pragmatism: a Reassessment”
Guest editors: Christiane Chauviré (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne), Sabine Plaud (University of Strasbourg)
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Volume 4, No. 2, 2012
The connections between Wittgenstein’s philosophy and the pragmatist tradition are often alluded to, but seldom thoroughly explored. It is an established fact that Wittgenstein was scarcely acquainted with such authors as Charles Sanders Peirce or John Dewey, even though he had a rather extended knowledge of the philosophy of William James. Nevertheless, the converging features between Wittgenstein and pragmatism are quite striking: we shall hardly need to mention Wittgenstein’s claim that meaning is use, his insistence on the pictorial dimension of mathematical proof, or again his emphasis on action in his characterization of will and intention. On the other hand, modern and contemporary pragmatist philosophers (R. B. Brandom, H. Putnam…) have often developed a complex and intricate relationship to Wittgenstein’s philosophy, since they sometimes use it as a support to their own arguments, but sometimes also point at its insufficiencies, and try to amend them. Hence the following questions: in what sense may Wittgenstein’s philosophy be described as “pragmatist”? Symmetrically, in what sense may contemporary pragmatist philosophy be described as “Wittgensteinian”? What are the incompatibilities, if any, between these two traditions? Lastly, what part has been played by such “middlemen” as C. K. Ogden or F. P. Ramsey in the interactions between Wittgenstein and pragmatism? Answering these questions should provide an opportunity to explore the dialogues and/or misunderstandings between a European or continental tradition in philosophy, and a more specifically American analysis of the notions of meaning, reasoning, action, etc. This special issue of EJPAP will welcome historical or even “philological” approaches, as well as more analytic ways of dealing with these debates.
Papers should be sent to Sabine Plaud (firstname.lastname@example.org) before May 1st 2012. Papers should not exceed 10,000 words and must include an abstract of 200-400 words and a list of works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind review. Acceptance of papers will be notified before July 1st, 2012.
EJPAP III, 2, 2011 – Call for papers
Symposia: “Pragmatism and the Social Sciences: A Century of Influences and Interactions”
Editors: Roberto Frega (University of Bologna), Filipe Carreira da Silva (University of Lisbon)
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, Volume 3, No. 2, 2011
The second issue of 2011 of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy (EJPAP) will be devoted to the relationship between pragmatism and the social sciences. The issue is explicitly interdisciplinary in focus and aims at assessing the relevance and fruitfulness of the pragmatist tradition for the development of contemporary social theory, as well as the place of pragmatist themes and concepts within the social sciences. Since its origins, in fact, classical American pragmatism has been a philosophy resolutely open to the social sciences. Not only pragmatists have been actively engaged in social scientific research themselves (think of W. James, J. Dewey, G.H. Mead, C. Morris), but they have also conceived of the birth and development of the social sciences as one of the most innovative traits of modern society, the one truly capable of incarnating the pragmatist conception of the scope of knowledge within human experience. It was mostly to social sciences, in fact, that pragmatist philosophers, social scientists, and reformers such as J. Dewey, W.E.B. Du Bois, L. Trilling, S. Hook, W. Mills turned to in order to find the analytical categories that could make philosophical thinking more attuned to the transformations changing contemporary societies. At the same time, the social sciences have always looked at pragmatism as a philosophy that offers useful tools for making sense of social, cultural and political practices and institutions. The aim of this issue of EJPAP is to discuss the reciprocal influences between pragmatism and the social sciences, and at exploring the current state of their interactions within contemporary philosophy and social sciences. Contributions from both philosophers and social scientists are thus welcome. Possible questions for discussion include at least the following: 1. The role of pragmatist concepts for empirical social scientific research. How have concepts such as: public, situation, self, agency been developed by social scientists in their empirical work? What normative practices have been adopted because of influences stemming from pragmatism? What is the heuristic value of pragmatist categories and theories for work in the social sciences? 2. The role of the social sciences in the development of pragmatism. Historical accounts of the close relation (since the inception of the pragmatist movement) between pragmatist philosophy and experimental and social science are particularly welcome; these could include, for example, discussions of the importance of the social sciences in the development of the philosophies of Peirce, James, Dewey or Mead. Papers discussing the epistemological dimension of this historical relation are also welcome. Of equal interest are theoretical questions concerning the extent to which pragmatist philosophers draw upon empirical research to illustrate their claims, or of how research carried on within the social sciences has been and still is integrated in the reflection of pragmatist philosophers. 3. Pragmatism as a philosophy of the social sciences. Is there really a pragmatist philosophy of the social sciences? Which are its main, distinctive traits? How might traditional pragmatist sources contribute to its development? Which are the current approaches to the philosophy of the social sciences within the pragmatist tradition?
Abstracts of 400-500 words should be sent to Roberto Frega (email@example.com) by February 15th 2011. The deadline for receipt of submissions is November 15th 2011. This issue of EJPAP will appear online in late 2011.